Wait Times Cost Money
It comes as no surprise that long wait times mean a loss of revenue, but how much money are truckers losing annually? Detention time is loosely defined as the minutes, or sometimes hours, that truckers are forced to wait beyond the anticipated time that they need to load or unload their trailers. The unspoken rule in the industry is anything over two hours is considered detention time, which is incredibly inaccurate, and robs drivers of pay. Some estimates put annual loss per trucker at around $1,500 per year, which adds up to over $1 billion per year industry-wide, and makes up about 3-4% of their average income. These numbers come from the audit by Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General. According to this report, the estimated loss of for-hire carriers is around $302 million. Although DOT estimates losses in the billions, the actual amount could possibly be even higher. However, because the amount of data that they have is so limited, they could not know for certain. With the new ELD mandate, detention time may be easier to track. But, most electronic systems do not distinguish between detention time and actual loading and unloading tasks.
This report points to a much larger issue with the industry, and long-standing labor problems– drivers are not paid for their detention time, and they do not have the power to control it. Long wait times mean a loss of revenue for everyone involved, and indicated inefficiency. Not only are long wait times wasteful and irritating, they can cause safety problems. Unexpected wait times at ports and weigh stations can also increase probability of getting into an accident. Detention time cuts into available waking hours, which can lead to fatigue. Even a fifteen minute increase in detention time can increase the chances of getting into an accident by six percent.
For more info, check out the DOT report and this article by Trucks.com.
Written By: Shayla Powers
Driver Shortages and Pay Gap
In the United States, the average age of truck drivers is 52, a number that increases every year, and efforts to recruit and retain younger employees have been largely unsuccessful. Some think that the shortage in younger drivers is due to a industry-wide bad image and reputation, and other think that it has to do with a combination of long hours and low pay. However, an increasing majority thinks it’s both. Low fuel prices, a steady economy, and consumer demand for online products has skyrocketed the demand for industry, but the wages are not worth the long hours away from home like they used to be. The younger generation is also passing up the trucking industry for jobs that are less physically demanding and less regulated.
Although the millennial generation has overtaken the baby boomers as the largest group in the workforce, the number of 25- 34 year-olds in the trucking industry has dropped by 50 percent. Issuance of CDLs is up by 10 percent in 38 states, but the retention rate is less than half, with a third leaving in the first 90 days. Licensing fees add up, tickets can be fatal, and for most, the pay just isn’t worth the money that they need to shell out before they can even operate.
This labor shortage is no new complication– the industry has essentially been short of drivers since the 80s, when deregulation caused a jump in the number of trucking companies and therefore the need for drivers. It doesn’t seem likely that this shortage will end anytime soon, either. The American Trucking Association estimates that the industry will need around 890,000 new drivers by 2025 to meet the rising demand for online goods. Along with lower pay, drivers feel an increasing disconnect with their companies, stating that they feel like “throwaways,” although the shortage of drivers suggest otherwise. So while the solution seems simple (i.e. higher pay) there’s more to the issue than what meets the eye.
Written By: Shayla Powers
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